'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 18 October 2022

12 Curly Questions with Brenton Cullen

We are delighted to introduce a vibrant new face to our renowned KBR family. Brenton Cullen is familiar figure in Kid Lit circles having reviewed and curated titles spanning every genre for years. 

His current passion is the compilation of children's books and their creators through the Golden Age of story writing, namely the 80s and 90s. 

We can't wait to see what Brenton shares with us in the months to come and today share a little bit more about him; the writer and advocate of great children's stories. Welcome, Brenton!

1. Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.
I saw a ghost when I was ten. Nobody ever believes me, but I swear I did!

2. What is your nickname?
I don’t have a proper nickname, but I am often called variations of my name like ‘Brendan’, ‘Brandon’, ‘Quentin’ (that was a weird one!) – I no longer bother to correct people!

3. What is your greatest fear?
Losing my loved ones. And, running out of time to read, and write, all the books I want to.

4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
My writing style, depending on the book I write, can be intriguing, descriptive yet pared back, full of mystery and puzzles, poignant and emotional, with dashes of subtle humour.

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Curious, inquisitive, passionate, imaginative, enterprising

6. What book character would you be, and why?
When I was 11, I first read one of my all-time favourite books called The Shadow Thief by Alexandra Adornetto. The boy in the story was named Ernest Pericloff and I related to his bookish personality and his problem with nerves, so I think we are very similar.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d want to go to the 1980s – and witness the ‘Golden Age’ of Australian Children’s Books for myself. It was the time where books flourished, great writers began their careers, and children’s books and their creators were given great media and awards attention. It seems like an innovative and creative period which produced so many classic stories.

8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
I knew you could do it.

9. Who is your greatest influence?
Personally, my mum for showing me strength has no limit and that it’s never too late to take charge of your life. But in the literary world, it must be the writers I loved as a child, who made me a reader and writer, and whom I am proud to call acquaintances, colleagues, mentors and hopefully friends! People like Libby Gleeson, Wendy Orr, Libby Hathorn, Jackie French, Sally Odgers and so many more. The entire community of children’s book authors inspire me every day!

10. What/who made you start writing?
Apart from the authors I mention above, my three favourite writers growing up were Enid Blyton, JK Rowling, and Ann M Martin. I devoured their books, and they are the main non-Australian writers who truly inspired my ongoing love of writing and reading stories.

11. What is your favourite word and why?
Cadbury. It conjures up delicious images.

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I would go with a long, in-depth biography of an author. Perhaps Agatha Christie: A Life by Janet Morgan – it offers terrific insight into Agatha’s writing process and her fascinating life. For a children’s book, I choose the Teen Power Inc series by Emily Rodda – I know that’s cheating, but maybe there could be a compendium of all the books together. Teen Power was one of my all-time favourite series as a teen because I love the mysteries!

Brenton Cullen is a book reviewer, writer, bookseller, and collector of children’s literature. Passionate about promoting children’s books and authors from the publishing ‘Golden Age’ of the 1980s & 90s, he is currently writing a book on the subject to keep that time alive. 

Connect with Brenton via his website or through Instagram.